Thoughts after the Oscars, while they're still fresh in my head, even if these thoughts are probably already not that fresh themselves:
It would have been cool if A Scanner Darkly was nominated for best animated film. Not only was it better than the other 3 nominees, but if it had been nominated we would have been treated to an animated Keanu in the audience before the winner was announced! (Credit to Julie for that joke.)
And why was anyone surprised that Happy Feet won over Cars in that category? The former was obviously superior to the latter. It's like Pixar is entitled to an Oscar every time they're nominated. They had to lose sometime.
What was Michael Mann's "America" montage on about? Was that a "let's show the world how diverse we are" via cinema? If so, it was more like, "Let's show the world how diverse and incoherent we are". The other montages were pretty effective, though, and I have to admit to finding the "writers on film" sequence particularly touching (as a screenwriter, I'm biased of course, but ya gotta love it).
No offense to Ms. Hudson, who is a terrific singer even if she's not yet a terrific actress, but I wonder about a world where she has an Oscar and Peter O'Toole doesn't.
Next candidate for Lifetime Achievement Award at upcoming Oscars: Peter O'Toole.
I was rooting for Philip Glass, even if the score for Babel was lovely. Now, there are other problems with Babel, but the score wasn't one of them.
The editing for that film seemed so obvious and showy I figured it would nab an Oscar for that category, but instead Thelma Schoonmaker did. Maybe not her greatest achievement, The Departed, but still good to see her up there. I was rooting for Children of Men in that category, though. I was rooting for Children of Men in any category.
Final number of Oscars for Children of Men: Zero.
(I couldn't agree more with Jeffrey Overstreet about cinematography in particular; as much as I liked Pan's Labyrinth, I think Oscar voters were confused about what cinematography means, and appear not to have seen Children of Men.)
Kudos to the Academy guy for his blessedly short, fast-talking summary of the Academy's accomplishments. What I thought would be torturous was actually enlightening - and lightening fast. (And I remembered I'd been to their library, and applied for their Nicholls fellowship twice, he says not too bitterly.)
An Inconvenient Truth, winner of... Best Original Song? Huh. Didn't see that coming. I'm theorizing that the three Dreamgirls nominees all competed against each other for votes. Also: Is Randy Newman a requirement at all Oscars shows?
Speaking of Truth, it won the Doc Oscar for being the most important, widely seen doc of the year, (and I don't even want to think about what conservative pundits are saying, not that I care) just as Michael Moore won it a few years ago - in each case, neither was the best film in that category, but I think people are afraid of voting against juggernauts like that. I haven't seen all the other contenders, but I can attest to the fact that Iraq in Fragments is clearly the better film. Still, as important as Iraq is, there is likely no important issue to this planet's well-being than its environmental future in general, and global warming in particular, and if this film spreads the message quicker than anything else, hard to argue against that. But let's hold no illusions that it's the best film artistically.
If I'd seen the clip for West Bank Story earlier, I would certainly have picked it in the Oscar pool. That looks hilarious. You can see all the Oscar nominated shorts in various theaters now, by the way, in selected cities including San Francisco and Seattle.
Does Ennio Morricone not speak any English? Surprising to have him up there speaking only Italian, with Clint Eastwood the only one up there interpreting. My sister, who speaks Italian pretty well, said Clint left out a few words. But the spirit of the moment shone through regardless.
Jessica Biel, she sure is tall. Now, can someone explain to me Biel's appeal outside of that? Is she actually a fine actress and I'm missing it? For me, there's no on screen "there, there," whatsoever. But maybe I'm missing the whole a-biel.
More (Updated): Don't be too hard on this year's Best Picture nominees. They're a fine lot, especially when you compare them to the groups in years past. F'rinstance, 1990: We had GoodFellas (still fantastic), Dances With Wolves (not as good as people once thought but still a good film) and... Ghost (barf), Awakenings (double barf), and Godfather III (the sucky one, but at least it made Sofia Coppola realize she wanted to be a director, not an actress). And then there's the class of '97: Titanic, As Good As It Gets, Good Will Hunting, Full Monty and L.A. Confidential. 4 of those films are definitely ones I'd give a "good" rating too, but none strikes me as a "best picture" with the exception of L.A. Confidential. Not an embarrassing year, but few films there that will seem "great" over the years. 1964's crop hasn't aged too well, either, for that matter. Only Tom Jones, that year's Best Picture winner, can still be enjoyed today (by me, anyway) without too much eye-rolling. (Others: America, America; Cleopatra; How the West Was Won; Lilies of the Field).
While we're at it, Dave Kehr made a good point here - in the usually reliable People Who Died montage, a few people got short shrift: Jack Palance, who had a memorable, long career, was saluted with his silly Oscar clip of him doing push-ups (which may have given Billy Crystal fodder for the rest of that evening but a moment from one of Palance's film performances would have been a nicer way to honor him); and Dennis Weaver, who wasn't even in the montage at all the year before, the Academy promised he'd be in this year's, and he wasn't.